Juvenile Justice: R.T.’s Story

March 20, 2014

The following is a client narrative from the Post-Disposition Advocacy Project (“the Clinic”). For more on this important issue, click here.

R.T., age 17, was involved in a fight with another resident at the Juvenile Medium Secure Facility.  Officers restrained R.T. and placed him on the floor.  R.T. was kicked in his eye by the unrestrained resident and suffered severe injuries to his eye and orbital socket which required emergency surgery.  Subsequent surgery was required in order to fully repair R.T.’s orbital socket.  However, R.T.’s mother was not informed of his medical needs and R.T. refused further surgery because he did not fully understand what the surgery entailed.  R.T.’s mother contacted the Clinic and asked for our assistance.  The Clinic counseled R.T. and arranged for R.T.’s mother to speak directly with R.T.’s eye surgeon.  The Clinic also obtained R.T.’s medical records so that R.T.’s mother would be fully informed.  After R.T.’s mother had all the necessary information, she was able to convince R.T. to have the surgery.

At the Community Foundation of New Jersey, we put heavy emphasis on seeking out critical and overlooked challenges such as these. And so when we learned about R.T.’s story (and others like it) and the work of the Post-Disposition Advocacy Project, we decided to act.

Our Leadership Committee moved quickly, deploying a $30,000 grant to support the Project’s work in providing legal representation to incarcerated youth. But now we need your help. Your contribution to this worthwhile effort will allow us to ensure more of New Jersey’s incarcerated youth have legal representation and are treated according to the law.